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US forces lower flag in Iraq ahead of pullout

US forces held a formal ceremony to lower the flag in Iraq on Thursday, ahead of their withdrawal from the country nearly nine years after the controversial invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. The ceremony marking the closure of the US military’s headquarters near Baghdad comes after US President Barack Obama…

Retail sales slide in November

Retail sales sank by 0.4 percent in November from the October level as heavy discounting failed to boost poor consumer sentiment, official data showed on Thursday. Market expectations had been for a smaller drop of 0.2 percent, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. “Today’s official figures confirm that…

Republicans push $915 billion spending bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans introduced a $915 billion spending bill in the House of Representatives early on Thursday in an attempt to force Democrats to finalize legislation that would keep the U.S. government operating beyond the weekend. Only two days are left until a temporary funding measure expires and the…

Bernanke tells lawmakers ‘no euro bailout’

WASHINGTON — US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke told Republican lawmakers Wednesday that he cannot and will not bailout struggling European economies, senators at the meeting said. Amid suspicions that Fed funds may be used to help debt-ridden eurozone countries, leading Republican Lindsay Graham said Bernanke assured senators “he doesn’t…

Michigan lawmaker proposes drug testing welfare recipients

Michigan state Rep. Jeff Farrington (R) has introduced legislation to the state legislature that would require low-income families with children and pregnant women to pass a drug test before receiving temporary government assistance. The legislation requires applicants to the state’s Family Independence Program to pay for the drug test, even…

Obama ratings down but Gingrich worse: poll

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama’s overall popularity has slipped to a new low but his approval ratings are still ahead of current Republican frontrunner Newt Gingrich, a poll showed Wednesday. The ABC News/Washington Post poll said the “unfavorable” views of Obama hit 49 percent, the highest of his presidency,…

Judge orders exam for alleged White House shooter

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday ordered a hearing to assess the mental capacity of a man arrested last month after allegedly firing shots at the White House in an attempt to assassinate President Barack Obama. The hearing, scheduled for Friday in Washington, will examine new evidence on the…

Obama will not veto National Defense Authorization Act

The White House on Wednesday said it would not veto the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney said the latest version of the legislation had addressed his worries about new rules on terrorism suspects. The legislation has been the subject of considerable…

Man who hunted bin Laden busted for illegal firearm

An American businessman who was arrested in Pakistan last year carrying a pistol, dagger and samurai sword, claiming to be on a mission to find and kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, is now facing a new form of justice in his homeland. Gary Brooks Faulkner, whose odd quest earned…

Study: Nearly 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual assault

A study released Wednesday found that sexual assault and violence against women is much more common in the U.S. than many experts believed. Nearly one in five women have been reported being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and one in four say they’ve been hit, kicked or experienced violence at…

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